Hindustan Surkhiyan Desk:The politics over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘pakoda’ remark entered the Rajya Sabha on Monday as BJP president Amit Shah in his maiden speech in the Upper House said it was better to sell ‘pakodas’ than to be unemployed.
“Some people are saying things about selling pakodas. I agree that selling pakodas is better than being unemployed. Making and selling pakodas is not shameful, but equating it with begging is certainly shameful,” Shah said.
“Today if a person is earning a livelihood by selling pakodas, tomorrow his son would become a big industrialist. A tea vendor’s son can become the Prime Minister of this country,” he added.
Shah was responding to Congress leaders’ recent jibes at Modi after the prime minister had in an interview said that a person selling pakodas was employed.
Modi’s claim drew widespread flak from the opposition with leaders calling it a “cruel joke” and as good as begging.
Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram had said: “Even selling pakodas is a ‘job’ said PM. By that logic, even begging is a job. Let’s count poor or disabled persons who are forced to beg for a living as ’employed’ people… The truth is India is witnessing a three year spell of modest, but jobless, growth and the government is clueless about how to create jobs.”
In his over an hour-long speech, Shah blamed the “55 years long” Congress rule for the widespread unemployment.
“I accept there is unemployment in the country. It is a problem. But you (Congress) have been ruling the country for so many years. We have been in power for eight years (including Vajpayee rule),” Shah said.
Shah also lashed out at the Congress for its opposition to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and for dubbing it as ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’.
Noting that “Gabbar Singh Tax is named after the filmy dacoit” (a character in Bollywood blockbuster Sholay), Shah asked “is this (GST) dacoity? How much do those who have named this as Gabbar Singh Tax understand? It is not dacoity but the revenues go to pay subsidies for various services of widows and the poor.”